LOUDONVILLE, NY – Siena College Vice President and Director of Athletics John D’Argenio has announced the hiring of Vilis Ozols as the seventh head coach in Siena Volleyball history. Ozols takes the reins of the Saints after spending the previous five seasons as the head coach at Niagara University.
“We are excited to welcome Coach Ozols to Siena, and look forward to his leadership of our volleyball program,” said D’Argenio. “He’s a proven head coach who’s had successful experiences at many different levels. His character and volleyball expertise will serve Siena well.”
Ozols led Niagara to MAAC Tournament berths in each of his final four seasons at the helm, while posting a 42-30 (.583) record in league action during that time. Over his five seasons on Monteagle Ridge, he recruited and developed three-time MAAC Libero of the Year Rylee Hunt – who ranked third nationally averaging 6.17 digs per set last season – seven All-MAAC selections, and six MAAC All-Rookie Team honorees.
“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to serve as the head coach of the Siena Volleyball program, and I am looking forward to the growth process of building towards challenging for a MAAC Championship,” commented Ozols. “John D’Argenio and (Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator) Lori Anctil have done a wonderful job in establishing a culture of excellence here, and the Siena Volleyball program will work hard to epitomize that both on the court and in the classroom.”
This past season Ozols piloted the Purple Eagles to the fourth highest overall win total and third most conference victories in the program’s 40-year history. Niagara was victorious in 17 of its final 22 matches to secure its highest win total in six years in posting an 18-10 overall record. The Purple Eagles finished second in the MAAC with a 14-4 league mark, and were heralded with two First Team All-MAAC, one Second Team, and two All-Rookie Team selections.
Ozols guided Niagara to .500 or better finishes in conference play in each of his last four years, and propelled the Purple Eagles to a MAAC Semifinals appearance in 2015. In just his second year at the helm in 2014, Ozols orchestrated a 10-win improvement which marked the 10th best turnaround in the nation.
Ozols previously served as an assistant coach at the University of Wyoming (2011-12), following a brief stint as a volunteer assistant at the University of Colorado (2011). Ozols helped guide the Cowgirls to consecutive 21-11 seasons during his two years in Laramie, where his defensive schemes helped place Wyoming second nationally in blocks per set in 2012.
A nearly 25-year resident of Denver, Colorado, Ozols first entered the coaching ranks leading Mullen High School from 2007-10. He amassed an 81-29 (.736) overall record, while guiding the Mustangs to four consecutive top-10 finishes in the State of Colorado. He coached Mullen to a second place state finish and District Championship in 2008, and propelled the program to a third place state finish and the first Centennial League Conference Championship in the school’s 66-year history in 2009.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Ozols is a 1985 graduate of the University of Guelph with his B.S. in Food Science. A three-time Conference MVP and four-time First Team All-Conference selection, he was inducted into the University of Guelph Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Ozols was a member of the Canadian National Junior Team from 1977-79, earning a Silver Medal at the NORCECA World Championships Qualifying Tournament. He later played professionally on the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour.
Ozols earned his MBA in Marketing from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1992. He founded the Ozols Business Group in 1993, and is a world class motivational speaker who has presented to audiences on three continents, including nine countries, and all 50 U.S. states. Ozols has authored three business books, numerous audio and video programs, and is a frequent contributor to magazine and trade publication articles. Ozols is the proud father of four children, and he and his wife Karon currently reside in nearby East Greenbush.
Ozols inherits a storied Siena Volleyball program which has won a total of nine MAAC Championships (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014), made eight NCAA Tournament appearances (1994, 1995, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014), and one NIVC appearance (1993). The Saints are expected to return their top-three leaders in kills per set – including MAAC All-Rookie Team selection Dakota Jackson – starting setter Jessica Eblin, and starting libero Jojo Ishida from a team which posted a 7-22 overall record last fall including a 7-11 mark in the MAAC.